On Sunday the 22nd of September at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses Zangersheide, in Lanaken, Belgium, 5th Year student Seamus Hughes Kennedy won gold in the prestigious 7-year-old World Championship Breeding Competition on the Irish Sport Horse, Cuffesgrange Cavadora and became a World Champion at just 17 years old.
The first qualification round started on the preceding Thursday, where 201 combinations from 26 countries and 25 Studbooks around the world, started the journey towards the final. Seamus finished in 6th place on the first day, a magnificent achievement considering he was not only the youngest competitor in the class, but also at the whole show and competing against 11 of the top 50 riders in the world including Irelands Bertram Allen and Denis Lynch. Fridays 13th place finish guaranteed Seamus a spot in the top 40, qualifying him for the final. In fact, as they were the 2nd best combination overall, they received a very favourable late draw in Sunday’s final.
After a truly magical morning for Irish teenage riders in the first final of the day, Carlow’s Jason Foley (18) and Kildare’s Mickey Pender (19) won gold and silver in the 5yo’s. Mickey Pender continued his success story winning a silver medal in the 6yo’s. The stage was now set for the 7yo final. Belgian course designer Eugene Mathy presented them with another challenging track, which was a daunting 1.45-1.50mt Longines Ranking Class. Of the 40 finalists only 8 combinations jumped clear in the first round and Seamus had the advantage of being last to go in the jump-off. Seamus’s clear round in a time of 38.58 sec, shaved 0.12 off Brazilian Victor Mariano Luminatti time relegating them to the silver medal. Multi Olympic medal winner, Germany’s Marco Kutscher was 3rd.
This victory has resulted in Seamus breaking into the top 1000 of the Longines World Rankings, with a current position of 991 up from 1556 and is ranked at 212 in the Under 25 division. This has come on the back of a very successful year with 2nd place finishes in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, and the Millstreet International Horse show with Cuffesgrange Cavadora. Seamus was also part of the Irish Junior Teams (U18) that were 4th in the Nations Cup at Sentower Park, Belgium, 2nd in the Nations Cups of Hagen, Germany with Louidor and won Team Bronze at the European Championships in The Netherlands with Consun.
Congratulations to Seamus on this amazing achievement and we wish him every success in his future Showjumping career.